Why You Should Tailor Your CV for Every Job

Why You Should Tailor Your CV for Every Job

Job search is a complex and time-consuming process. You have to do many things, and every employer has their own requirements. Some need a cover letter, others ask for references, and sometimes, you must also submit a portfolio.


Understandably, rewriting your CV for every application on top of it all is the last thing you want to do. Isn’t it enough to construct a different cover letter for each position? Looking for a job is already a full-time job as it is.


We understand all that. But in this article, we want to show you why tailoring your CV for every job is worth your time and effort. 



What does it mean to tailor a CV?


Tailoring a CV is customising your resume for every job you apply to. You use different keywords, highlight various skills, and formulate things from a different angle, depending on the details included in the job description.


When you tailor a CV, you still showcase your actual professional profile and only list the skills and experience you really have. You just structure it in a different way, because every employer prioritises something else and puts focus on different aspects. 


Why you should tailor your CV for every job


  1. Pass the ATS
  2. Show that you care
  3. Demonstrate that you're serious about the job
  4. Prove that you know what you're applying for
  5. Highlight important skills
  6. List relevant experience
  7. Stand out among other candidates 


  1. Pass the ATS


Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are software designed to help recruiters manage applications. One of their functions is to filter CVs based on the presence of certain keywords and discard the resumes which don’t feature those keywords.


Now, every employer looks for different keywords. They can program the ATS to search specifically for the set of keywords they want. 


Imagine you send a generic CV to two companies. By sheer luck, your resume may pass the ATS scan from one company, but it won’t be a match for the other. Your chances for success drop by 50% at the very start because your application will be discarded and your CV won’t even reach a recruiter. All because you didn’t take the time to tailor your resume. 


The use of ATSs only grows and will very soon become the norm for the majority of companies. This means that you have to look for keywords in every job description and include them in your CV before you apply to get a chance to be invited to an interview. 


  1. Show that you care


ATSs aside, tailoring your CV for every job simply demonstrates that you genuinely want this job. Recruiters can tell whether a resume was written specifically for a particular position or not. They appreciate the effort in the former case, and aren’t impressed in the latter.


Nowadays, employers struggle with irrelevant applications and unmotivated candidates. The job market is very competitive, so many job seekers apply to every vacancy they can find - even those they aren’t particularly interested in.


Recruiters can easily tell the difference between someone who is honestly interested in the job and a job seeker who mass applies for different positions, just by looking at their CV. Obviously, they will select people from the first category, so tailoring your resume and showing that you care is a way to get you ahead in the game. 


  1. Demonstrate that you’re serious about the job


Professionalism is one of the top qualities that employers look for in potential employees. It is especially true these days, when many recruiters report an increased difficulty in finding serious candidates. Many applicants never show up for job interviews, ghost their contact person, or behave carelessly. 


Recruiters have certain quotas to meet. Their performance will be evaluated based on that. Understandably, when faced with a choice between a CV that is tailored for a specific job and one that is painfully generic, they will go with the safe choice (aka the former). 


Generic resumes just don’t look professional. They suggest that the person behind them is equally sloppy and unmotivated. 


On the other hand, someone who has taken the time and effort to tailor their CV for the job gives an impression of taking the application seriously. They just seem like a candidate who will turn up for their job interview and then to their first day at work. Sometimes, even this is a lot to ask in the eyes of recruiters. 


  1. Prove that you know what you’re applying for


This may sound silly, but let us explain. You would be surprised by how many candidates apply for jobs without reading the job description. If the title matches, they’re content to send their CVs.


You are probably aware that two of the most common job interview questions are: “Why did you apply for this position?” and “What do you know about our company?”. They are so popular for exactly this reason: to test whether the candidate took the time to carefully consider the role and company.


But you don’t have to wait until the interview to prove that your application wasn’t a coincidence - you can showcase it in your resume. When you tailor your CV to a job, focus on the things mentioned in the job description, and use targeted keywords, it will be clear to the employer that their vacancy wasn’t just one of many you applied for. 


Needless to say, recruiters don’t like random applicants. Tailoring a CV is the best way to prove to them that you’re the right person in the right place, are fully aware of what you’re applying for, and want this job. 


  1. Highlight important skills


You know very well that there is never enough space on your CV for everything you want to include there. Having to fit your entire professional history on one page is a struggle.


Tailoring your CV for every job allows you to remove all the irrelevant bits. Even if you’re laser-focused on one sector and only apply to a specific type of positions, no two jobs are the same. The job descriptions will differ - which, in turn, means that ATSs will target different keywords.


Focus primarily on the skills and requirements listed in the job description. Include as many of them as you can in your resume. If there is some space left after that, start adding other elements you believe are important. 


Some skills are sought-after by the majority of employees - especially transferable skills such as teamwork, time management, or communication. But certain skills may be emphasised more in one job description than in another. Pay attention to that and reflect it in your tailored CV. 


  1. List relevant experience


The work experience section of a CV is the most challenging one to write for most people. It’s difficult when you don’t have a lot of experience, it’s difficult if you have too much experience - it is difficult in general.


Tailoring your CV to a job solves that problem. If you craft your resume specifically for a certain position, you don’t have to wonder which of your previous roles you should include. Once you read the job description carefully, you will know what the employer is looking for and which experience they will find the most relevant. 


What’s more, when you tailor your CV to a job, you can also adjust the details of your work experience. It’s not enough to just list your previous roles - you should also briefly describe your daily tasks, results, and achievements.


Again, fitting everything in is impossible but by tailoring a CV to a job, you can focus on the aspects mentioned in the job description and customise your resume for a specific role. 


  1. Stand out among other candidates


As humans, we usually seek the easy way out. We’re programmed this way by nature, and it takes considerable effort to fight that instinct.


That is why most people don’t tailor their CVs. They simply cannot be bothered. This opens up a niche for everyone who can dedicate extra time to tweak their resume. 


Unfortunately for most people, recruiters can easily spot a generic CV. Given how a considerable number of the resumes they go through aren’t tailored, they will perk up once they find one that is. 


Tailoring your CV for a job will make you stand out among many other candidates who didn’t do the same. And, as you are probably aware, succeeding in the job search process is all about standing out from the crowd and being noticed.


Disclaimer: tailor doesn’t mean lie!


As many as 65% of applicants who get the job by tailoring their CVs struggle to hold the position once they are hired. Why? Because they weren’t being honest in their resumes.


There is a clear distinction between tailoring a CV and lying in your CV.


Tailoring a CV means adjusting its content to the requirements of a specific job and applying keywords present in the job description, using only the actual skills and experience you have and can support by clear evidence. 


Including random keywords and things you believe an employer wants to see in your resume when you can’t honestly say you have them isn’t tailoring a CV. It’s lying


And lying in your resume won’t get you far. Don’t forget that the goal isn’t to just get the job - it is to keep it, perform well, and be happy in it. 


Being hired for a role you’re not qualified for will cause you a lot of stress - not to mention, you will get called out for it. 


Believe in yourself and your skills. Once you’re aware of your strengths and learn to showcase them, you won’t have to resort to lying in your CV.


Hopefully, we helped you see why you should tailor your CV for every job. It increases your chances of getting invited to a job interview by demonstrating your commitment, attention to detail, and motivation. It also sets you out from other candidates - the majority of whom don’t tailor their CVs. 


If you need more help in crafting the perfect CV, have a look at the CV and cover letter section of our blog. And if your resume is ready, don’t wait around and apply for a new job now!

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